Does the Ab Circle Pro work? The Ab Circle Pro is another in a long series of “amazing” “breakthrough” abdominal machines touted to help you lose weight. Here is how it’s supposed to work: You swing your body back and forth in an arching motion. This, they say actives the abs and obliques to burn fat and reduce the midsection. I wrote this Ab Circle Pro review after I saw the Ab Circle Pro commercial on TV and decided to challenge their statements so you would know better if the Ab Circle Pro was right for you.
Here are some the facts you should know about before you buy the Ab Circle Pro
At least 10 times during the infomercial you see this statement
“The complete ab circle pro system includes a reduced calorie diet and regular aerobic exercise”.
So, if you just used the Ab Circle Pro for 3 minutes a day (as they say to should) and did not eat less and do aerobic exercise, you WILL NOT lose weight like they hint you will.
They say that the Ab Circle Pro gets you to your aerobic target heart rate zone faster than any aerobic machine in the gym. If that’s so, why are they also recommending additional aerobic exercise as part of the Ab Circle Pro program? Think about it, they say that Ab Circle Pro is like “a treadmill for the abs”. If that’s really true, then you shouldn’t have to do extra aerobic exercise, right?
If you’re not used to the Ab Circle Pro, then it’s likely that you will get to your target heart rate faster – but getting there faster doesn't mean the Ab Circle Pro is better.
How long will you stay at your target heart rate? They don’t say.
How many calories do you burn when you using the Ab Circle Pro? They don’t say.
They often recommend using it for only 3 minutes a day. How many calories does that burn? They don’t say that either.
I have no doubt that if you are not used to it, the Ab Circle Pro will increase your heart rate some and you may start to sweat a little too.
But what happens after 2 or 3 weeks later? I’d bet that you would get used to the Ab Circle Pro and this would result in less sweating, less increase in heart rate and less calories used. For those who want to compare prices, here is the Ab Circle Pro on Amazon.
Has anybody used it for more than a few weeks? What happened?
Like a Treadmill for the Abs – really?
The statement that the Ab Circle Pro is it’s “like a treadmill for the abs” makes you think it is as good at cardio as a treadmill. Where is the proof? They don’t say. They do mention an “independent study” but I can’t see where it’s published.
It's not listed on the Ab Circle Pro website or the website for Jennifer Nicole Lee, the spokeswoman of the Ab Circle Pro. How many people were in the study have? How long the study last?
They don't say.
Don’t believe phrases like “independent study” or “clinically proven”. Phrases like these have been used so many times to sell products that they hold little very meaning anymore. Instead look for “published peer-reviewed study”. That’s my litmus test.
Jennifer Nicole Lee says that you get her “lose your love handle system” when you buy the Ab Circle Pro. But why would somebody need this program if the Ab Circle Pro is like treadmill for the abs?
Could it be that cutting calories is needed to get the results shown in the infomercial? Of course it is! That’s why it says at the bottom of each testimonial on the infomercial that the people using the Ab Circle Pro also reduced their calories (and did aerobic exercise).
3 minutes on the Ab Circle Pro equals 100 sit ups. Really?
They say that 3 minutes on the Ab Circle Pro equals 100 sit ups. But, there is no research to substantiate this number. Who proved it? Where is the study published? Of course the Ab Circle Pro will activate the abs and other abdominal muscles to a degree but until they do a peer reviewed study and get it published in a peer-reviewed journal, I don't believe it.
The Ab Circle Pro guarantees that you’ll lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks. I'm pretty sure people will lose weight during the first 2 weeks – if they follow the entire program and here is the main reason why: the low calorie eating plan. When we reduce our calories and / or the carbs we eat, we cause our body to use glycogen, which is carbohydrates that our body stores for future use. When we use this energy, we release a LOT of water in the process.
This is actually how the Atkins and South Beach Diet work. They get you to cut your carbs for the first 2 weeks of the diet. After two weeks, people lose a lot of weight – most of it is water. Your first sign of weight loss is frequent trips to the bathroom when you are on these diets.
They say that the Ab Circle Pro works because it combines cardiovascular exercise and abdominal exercise. But what the infomercial doesn't show is the proof that the Ab Circle Pro burns calories as well as a treadmill etc. Not once in the Ab Circle Pro infomercial did I see a published peer reviewed study proving that the Ab Circle Pro was as good as a treadmill, bike, elliptical, etc at burning calories.
Who is Jennifer Nicole Lee?
Jennifer Nicole Lee is not only the spokesperson for the Ab Circle Pro she is also the co-creator and designer of the product too. According to her website, she is “a fitness model and the CEO of her multi-million dollar empire”, called JNL. What I found interesting was that her website does not list her health and fitness education or fitness certifications. In the infomercial they say Jennifer is a :
“Fitness Celebrity” and an “Expert Fitness Celebrity”
Both of these titles have no official definition so they are basically meaningless. I know from her website and the infomercial that she lost about 70 pounds and that's wonderful. But, I would expect somebody with the title of “expert” to have at least a MS degree in exercise science.
As the CEO of a multi-million dollar fitness corporation, I know she’s smart. But does that translate into her expertise in muscle physiology, cardiovascular physiology, fitness testing, sports nutrition or other areas which a fitness expert should have?
All advertisements for ab gizmos make people think that that by exercising the abs you will lose weight / fat from the abs. This is called spot reduction and it’s a myth. Think about it – Practically every abdominal exercise device you have ever seen on TV is based on this myth.
We cannot lose fat from just one part of our body. If we could, you would see skinnier dominant arms on baseball pitchers and tennis players. But we don’t see this.
While they never specifically say spot reduction in the infomercial, all the pictures and talk about abs leads one to believe that this is what will happen when you use the Ab Circle Pro. Does Jennifer Nicole Lee believe in spot reduction?
I have never met her but I’d like to know if anybody has asked her this question. If she doesn't believe in spot reduction, then how does she rationalize marketing an ab gizmo whose implied marketing premise IS spot reduction?
Also see the Dr. Bill Sukala's review of Ab circle Pro review.
Does The Ab Circle Pro work?
If you read the comments below, you will see that some people have said it worked. Based on the claims and statements made in the Ab Circle Pro infomercial I come the following conclusions:
- If people use the Ab Circle Pro AND eat fewer calories AND do aerobic exercise 4-7 days a week for 30-60 minutes a day, I think they will lose some weight – maybe even 10 pounds in 2 weeks.
- If people ONLY use the Ab Circle Pro for 3 minutes a day without doing the other stuff, they will work their abdominal muscles only. This will lead to very little – if any – weight loss.
- Those not accustomed to the Ab Circle Pro should begin with only 30 seconds to 1 minute for the first week. This will help cut down on muscle soreness the next day.
- If you have osteoporosis, you should not use the Ab Circle Pro or do any exercise that causes you to do a sit up or crunch movement or twisting of the spin. In people with osteoporosis, this might cause fractures of the spinal cord bones.
- People with heart disease and/or high blood pressure should get up slowly after using the Ab Circle Pro. Getting up too fast could cause people to faint from a drop in blood pressure.
Update. On May 20 2011 the TV news show 20/20 did a segment on infomercials and featured the claims made by Jennifer Nicole Lee in her Ab Circle Pro commercial. 20/20 reports that in 2006 JNL told people on the Oprah Show that she lost her weight by doing squats while using her son her son Dylan as resistance.
But, in the Ab Circle Pro infomercial JNL doesn't mention doing squats with her infant son but rather attributes all of her weight loss to the Ab Circle Pro. In her words, “all thanks to the Ab Circle Pro”. This is interesting since Jennifer Nicole Lee lost her 80 pounds in 2004 – before the Ab Circle Pro was being sold.
When 20/20 contacted JNL for their segment, she disputed that her weight loss was “All thanks to the Ab Circle Pro” –even though 20 /20 had her own voice saying it on TV. After complaints about how JNL lost her weight, the company that makes the Ab Circle Pro changed the wording used in product ads saying :
“Ms Lee used the Ab Circle Pro to maintain weight loss that she had already achieved”
Likewise, the claim that people can get their exercise in as little as 3 minutes a day has also been dropped from Ab Circle Pro ads.
20/20 also consulted with Pratt Institute Photoshop expert William Hilson who claimed that the before pictures used in the Ab Circle Pro ads appear to be computer “stretched” – to make people look wider than they really are. While the company that makes the Ab Circle Pro maintains that the before pictures were not altered, 20/20 reports that the before pictures have been dropped from ads.
After JNL agreed to a formal sit down interview with 20/20 (she was originally confronted as she left a tanning salon), 20/20 reported that JNLs lawyer contacted them and threatened to have them arrested if they tried to contact JNL again.
Update August 24 2012. The US Federal Trade Commission has ordered the company that makes Ab Circle Pro to pay 25 million dollars in refunds because of deceptive advertising. Here is the FTC report on the Ab Circle Pro. There you can also apply for a refund as well.
Here is the Ab Circle Pro on Amazon for those who are interested.
What do you think?